Loser. The world would be better off without you. Those are phrases that stuck with Dante Clemson, a young boy from Vicksburg, Mississippi. Being of Dante’s color in the town that he lived in, caused Dante to be bullied relentlessly by his peers. Bullying began when he was only eight years old when he went into third grade. A boy with a terrible behavior, Jack Palman, was the first person who made Dante conscious of his skin color. He called him a “jungle bunny,” a childish slur but a slur nonetheless. This slur, this childish slur, paved the path for the people who would later bully Dante. He endured years of bullying for something that he could not change. He often wondered why people bullied him for something that he had zero control over.
November 17, 2017, was the day that was his final breaking point. One of his classmates had pushed him into the lockers at school, beat him into a bloody pulp, screamed at him, chanted racial slurs at him, and made Dante decide that he wanted to kill himself. He had thought about ending his life before, but this finalized his decision that he wanted to die and that the world would be better off without him. He did not know that he did not actually want to end his life, he just wanted the pain to end. Two days after the brutal attack, Dante sat on his bathroom floor bawling with his father’s razor blades in hand. He had written his suicide note to his parents stating, “I do not want to live anymore, for I don’t want to live a meaningless life that only disrupts others. I am sorry for what I am going to do but I love y’all and know that it is not either of your faults that I ended up being a waste of life to everyone.” He was sobbing uncontrollably and his hands were shaking as if he was struggling to keep his last hold on life. He let in a deep sob that sounded as if he were choking on grief. The razor blade was hovering a half-inch above his wrist and he thought back into his life and the memories that had made it.
Good things did happen in his life like going to get cold mint chocolate chip ice cream on a hot summer’s day with his friend, Julian, waking up on Christmas to the smell of sweet gingerbread baking in the oven, or being greeted by his dog Rover when he stepped out of his mom’s car. These memories were just a small fraction of the good memories that were all covered by the memories of being racially discriminated against, pushed and shoved, beaten until bloody, threatened to be killed, and many more.
He pressed the blade into his skin and a dark blood, almost black was the product of the slice. Hot tears fell down his warm cheeks and landed on his wrist where they met with the blood. The combination of the blood and tears formed a bright red color which made him realize something. He realized that he did not want to end his life. The blood and tears, both products relating to grief in this situation, formed something new. Dante realized he could form something new in his life with the bad cards he was dealt. Pushing himself off of the ground with shaky hands, Dante put the razor blades back into the medicine cabinet and wiped his tear-soaked face off. November 19, 2017, was the day that Dante wanted to end his life but November 19, 2017, was really the day that ended up saving his life.
One week after Dante’s revelation, he began an anti-bullying campaign in his hometown. The motto of his campaign is “Have COURAGE to fight the people who don’t.” Dante showed a great amount of courage even when his life was at its lowest point. He persevered.